Before you travel with EF Tours -- how to get enrolled and pay for an EF educational group tour, pack for an EF trip and pay for an EF trip.
Find out about EF Tours
EF is a massive educational tour company offering global group travel to students of all ages, and companions -- parents, sibs, wives, whoever. Tours are accompanied by at least one adult and run year 'round. Read an EF company profile and read on to find an EF trip and get going.
Finding an EF trip
EF trips are instigated by teachers or interested adults, who become "group leaders" and sign up participants. Ask at your counseling office, call EF to learn whether a teacher in your area is planning a trip, or ask your favorite educator (how about TA's?) to consider planning some travel. You can join an existing trip or combine schools to put together a full group (shoot for 20). If your group isn't large enough, you'll pay more or be asked to join another group (do that).
How Much Does It Cost?
Trip costs vary by destination, but EF does guarantee the lowest prices in the student group travel industry. Understand that most educational group travel is budget -- meaning non-central, inexpensive hotels and cheap eats. Flights may have layovers -- cheaper flights do. Know that things beyond EF's control, like airport fees, may affect final pricing. EF writes, "Because of our size, we are able to negotiate excellent rates without sacrificing quality." True, in my experience.
Decide How to Pay
The big question: how to come up with the bucks? A teacher in Virginia Beach runs student group travel through her school's student loan program -- worth asking your admin. EF Tours offers an auto payment plan -- exceedingly affordable at $50/month and up, billed monthly to your credit card. You're the ultimate judge on spending money brought along; remember that lunch is not included in an EF tour's cost.
Conisder asking parents to pay -- travel is as broadening as college.
Enroll with an EF trip
Once you've made the decision to go, enrolling is a snap -- the teacher or adult organizing the trip will probably disseminate sign-up info or you can sign up online with a $95 enrollment fee (typical of group student travel companies). You can also sign up over the phone: 1-800-665-5364.
Once you enroll in any kind of group travel and pay your money, you've made a contractual commitment with the company organizing the travel. Understand what you're signing and saying.
Prep With EF Podcasts
EF Tours has two new tech trip helpers cooking for 2006, both aimed at integrating international experience, via student travel, and technology. If you're one of the many student travelers who'd rather carry earbuds than guidebooks, you'll find EF on iTunes, or TourCasts, great trip guides via iPod. And EF is also introducing iStory Tours: traveling with your own Apple tech. After enrolling, you can download walking tours and more, narrated by EF tour directors, to whet your travel tastebuds.
- Learn About EF TourCasts
Get Pre-Departure Info
Your group leader can create an EF webpage -- ask if you don't hear about one. Use it to find packing lists, enroll if you haven't, and download pre-departure info like schedules and hotel addresses. Big tip: hopping continents while hauling lots of luggage is a drag.
Your group will be assigned an EF tour consultant after enrollment -- use that resource. He/she will send tickets, schedules and last-minute info to the group leader, as well as helping you understand accreditation possibilities.
Sign Up for Credit
EF offers school accreditation for travel; sign up well before you travel. Get a one-hour semester credit for $100 through Eastern Washington University and EF, and check high school accreditation possibilities with your school -- tell 'em EF has its own education panel and employs someone full-time in its US office to handle school credit for travel. Your teacher may choose to provide class credit independently: propose it. Your EF tour consultant (above) can help.